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Sunday, November 21, 2010

I want my country back

(This one's been sitting in my drafts since October 19 - that's what I get for not finishing a post right away.  I forget to get back to it!)

There's a Huffington Post opinion piece that's being passed around a lot by my friends on the far left.  I'm going to have to stop calling them liberals, or even lefties.  I don't want to imply that all my friends on the political left are like this.  I think it would be more accurate to call them anti-Conservative, since they leap on anything that paints conservatism in a negative light while ignoring the positives (and if I sound like I'm picking in my anti-conservative friends, it's because my right leaning friends don't pass around this kind of stuff, so there's been nothing to pick on).  In fact, anything positive gets twisted around to become a negative.

Take this piece they're passing around, mocking the "I want my country back" mantra. You can save yourself some time if you want.  They're using the term to attack Republicans and TEA partiers (TEA is capitalized because it actually stands for Taxed Enough Already, but it took me a while to find that out, since it doesn't get much mention) by twisting the meaning of the phrase and saying these right-wing nutjobs (of course, everyone on the right is a nut job.  They're also all white, old, male, Christian... you get the picture) want to turn back time to some blissful Luddite utopia, with no technology, no equality, or no medical advances, and where coloured folks knew their place, and there was no religious diversity.  Lefties, of course, want to move forward, not back, with good sanitation, medical care, etc.  Because folks on the right don't want any of these things.  They want to take their country "back."

Which is typical bovine feces coming from the anti-conservative crowd.  First, they tell us what those on the right supposedly are, (ignorant, bigoted, whatever), then tell us why they are wrong, then tell us how oh-so-superior folks on the left are.

Of course, they're missing the point entirely.  It's not "I want my country back to..." something.  It's "I want my country back from..." something.

While there certainly are elements on the right that have some strange Utopian image of a blissful past, typically coloured by the lens of childhood memory rather than reality, it is a mistake to paint all folks on the right like that, just as it would be to paint everyone on the left the same way, even though many of them are just as guilty of putting forward an image of that past that has more to do with childhood memories or ideology than reality.

People who say they want their country back aren't saying they want to go back to the time of June Cleaver and Father Knows Best.  What they want is to reclaim their country from... oh, a whole bunch of things, such as:

- exorbitant taxes that penalize those who work for it (that would be the middle class, mostly), and punish the wealthy for being wealthy, only to see those tax dollars disappear into billion (or trillion, in the US) dollar debts, endless layers of bureaucracy and boondoggles, and to fund special interest groups or pay people who don't work (no one is begrudging a helping hand to those in need, but those who play the system)

- special interest groups that are convinced they know what's good for us better then we do, so they work to change laws and regulations to control everything from what kind of fuel we put in our cars (except, of course, those that would take our cars away from us entirely), where we should live and in what kind of dwelling, what we should watch or read, what we should be allowed to eat or drink, how much of either, and even what our body size and shape should be.

- revisionism of religious reality, both current and historical, by the powers that be and vocal minorities that try to tell us that our countries' founders weren't actually Christians (this applies to both Canada and the US), unless it's to claim those Christians were actually evil, or that our laws aren't actually based on Christianity, or that the majority of our current populations aren't actually still Christian (in both Canada and the US, the majority of the population is some Christian affiliation, with the majority of those being Catholic, with the next category being "no religious affiliation" followed by Muslim and Jewish, with some regional variations).  Yes, we have a diversity of ethnicity's, cultures and religion, but we shouldn't have to pander to any special interest group just because they're not white or not Christian.

- extreme political correctness, where instead of just trying to be polite and caring of other's differences, the majority is now expected to cowtow to vocal minorities to the point that people are afraid to say "merry Christmas" or compliment someone on their ethnic garb without fear of offense.

- a nation where, instead of a meritocracy, where the best people for a particular job are hired, companies are required to meet ethnic or gender based quotas (white males need not apply).

- a bizarre, twisted notion of cultural relativism, where all cultures are supposedly equally good, but the US, the West, and those of European background are actually evil or wrong for their very successes, while others are considered better for being less exploitative, or more "natural" even though women have no or few rights, gays are jailed, beaten and/or executed and where a 17 year old woman who dared go out in public (or was just rumored to have) with a man not her husband, father or brother, was beaten, stomped and stoned to death on the street by a mob, while the crowd took photos and videos on their cell phones and posted them on the internet. (No, I'm not going to link to that one.  I watched it, not realized what I was about to see, and it still haunts me).

- a society that thinks we should apologize for being successful, relatively wealthy, and enjoying material comforts, and would have us forced to give those up and would take that wealth and turn it over to corrupt organizations, such as the UN, or dictator governments in some sort of bizarre attempt to make everyone equal, not realizing that taking from the rich and giving to the poor just leaves everyone poor (why would anyone strive to get ahead if the fruits of their efforts will just be taken away and given to others).

There are more examples than I can think of right now.   These are just a few of the things TEA Party folks (who aren't a cohesive group to begin with) are trying to take their country back from.

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